Green ____(Home, Chilies, Halloween)

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There has been a lot of news in recent weeks about companies in the red, the bailout of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, and the $700 billion Bailout Plan, the volatility in the stock market and red states and blue states.  (By the way, my friend Monica noticed in last night's debates that Obama was wearing a red tie and McCain was wearing a blue tie. Strategic and subliminal, all at once).  Instead of writing about being in the red or feeling blue, I decided to write about green things.*

Last week, I found myself in a conversation about San Francisco’s green building codes, the most progressive in the nation.  Many of my clients and friends are interested in living in a green home, and some were curious to know if having a green home pays off.  A recent study published by McGraw Hill’s Construction Service and the Green Building Council ( that people who renovated their homes with green features and those who purchased or built green homes were very satisfied with the results.  Forty two percent of the respondents stated that the main reason for the renovation were benefits like energy savings or healthier air.  Over 50 percent of the green homes sold at a cost that is “about the same” as comparable non-green homes, and 20 percent of the green homes cost less.  And, what is most interesting—70 percent of the respondents more or much more inclined to buy a green home over a conventional home.  So, what to do in your green home?  Cook with green chilies, of course.  I had the opportunity in early September to participate in a chili roast—we had 350 lbs of hot, mild and medium chilies from New Mexico.  The chilies are roasted in a big mesh basket that rotates over gas flames.  Each batch is turned for about eight minutes, and then the peppers are placed in plastic bags.  As the peppers sweat, the charred skin loosens and can be peeled away. We had a great time!  I froze my peppers to be used over time.  I made a batch of Posole this weekend, yum.  If you have a favorite green chilies recipe, I’d love to hear from you (I know, as the Realtor, I am supposed to provide the recipes.  Here, the tables are turned…). 

And finally: Green Halloween.  It seems like everything is green this year.  In the last week, I have noticed several articles about how to Green your Halloween.  The usual suspects—use re-usable bags to hold your organic, locally made chocolates as you trick or treat in your homemade costume made from recycled items.  You got it.  Some of the more unusual ideas  including a ban on all ‘unhealthy’ foods including anything with chocolate, salt, sugar and caffeine (not a focus on the carbon footprint of the candy—just a focus on it being unhealthy).  Others suggest that if you can’t invite your friends to a party using an online service like Evite, that you consider sending invitations to your party on paper made from recycled  ‘elephant dung’.  Other websites promote products that you can buy to support your Green Halloween! 

Ok, we all make our choices and do what we can to reduce our impact on the earth.  I find it interesting to see how different people make their choices, and where they draw the line.  I also wonder how many kids would stand for the no sugar, salt, chocolate or caffeine gig at Halloween.  My former dentist in Boston had a terrific idea he put in practice .  He understood that kids wanted their candy.  Every year, he would buy back half of their candy so that they would limit their consumption of sugar and make them aware of a regulated, free market at work.  This in turn, spurred their future consumption, and all was good in the economy.